PARIS PHOTO 2023
GRAND PALAIS ÉPHÉMÈRE
THORSTEN BRINKMANN’s (*1971, Herne, Germany) working materials are found objects, bulky waste and things that have become worthless. With these debris of modern culture, he moves humorously and playfully lightly between the genres of photography, sculpture, performance and installation. Photographic self-staging, in which he acts as actor, prop master, director and photographer, is one of his main focuses. Wrapped in second-hand clothes and everyday objects, he transforms himself into anonymous, sometimes grotesque, androgynous figures that playfully reference and counter the compositions of old masters. Photographs are complemented with found objects such as beads or shards to become unique still lifes. Beyond the motif, they form colour and form studies of high aesthetic appeal.
JÜRGEN KLAUKE (*1943 near Cologne, Germany) is one of the key figures in the German contemporary art history. Since the 1970s, the artist has pioneered photography as a tool to question and investigate gender and identity questions. In unyielding ways, his own body is mostly used as a central medium of expression for his elaborate theatrically staged photographs. The figures in these scenes seem frozen and do not refer to themselves; they have left the sphere of all subjective mood to fill a more objective one. In this way, Klauke makes a pioneering contribution to the approach of the medium of photography known as staged photography, and succeeds in exploring the problem of identity and in focusing on basic questions of the existential and social reality. It has been pointed out that Klauke is one of the few artists who are able to make the human condition his theme without falling into an expressive gestural activism, still his most important contribution lies in his vigorous search into the question of gender and identity.
ANNEGRET SOLTAU (*1946, Lüneburg, Germany) is a pioneer in the field of feminist art and Body Art. For over 40 years, she has occupied herself with her physical and mental identity. In doing so, she utilizes her environment, her family and children over and over in her work. The thread that she uses in her performances and self-portraits encompasses faces and bodies like a safe cocoon; hidden and distorted, but also flexible. Photomontages of her own body and face sewn over or collaged with black thread are the most well-known works of the German photographer and performeR. It all started with a series of wrapping actions where she tied single people or whole groups with a strong black thread. In 1975 she began her „Time Experiences“ which became a „Female Genealogy“ altogether. “My main interest is the integration of body processes in my work, in order to connect body and spirit as equal parts“. (A. Soltau)
ISABELLE WENZEL (*1982, Wuppertal, Germany) studied to be a photographer/ artist, but is also a trained acrobat. Usually, she sets her own body before the camera. Within the seconds that the self-timer allows her, she assumes an impossible position and continues to hold it until the camera has clicked. The central focus of the photographs of Isabelle Wenzel is the body as a physical form, rather than people themselves. By taking a photograph, she freezes a pose in time as it were, and in doing so draws attention to the sculptural qualities of the body. In order to achieve a certain image, the maneuvers need to be carried out repeatedly. In this way, Wenzel does her own little experimental performance in front of the camera, which captures it for us in ‘frozen’ form as a photograph.